Make us your home page
Daniel Ruth

A fidelity to America, if not to his wives

Let's say you have long aspired to be a big-shot campaign consultant, advising powerful and highly ambitious pols on how to win the White House, which you have to admit sure beats serving as the public relations expert for the American Society of Septic Tank Cleaners.

Then Newt Gingrich calls and offers you a job. You begin to rethink your priorities and then you conclude — well, six of one, half a dozen of the other.

The Gingrich for President gig might not be so bad, you reason. There's no denying the big galoot has name recognition, but then again so do Pol Pot, Sasquatch and Glenn Beck.

But you press on. After all, Gingrich was a former House speaker, and even his most ardent detractors will grudgingly concede he is a font of ideas, although his day-to-day management skills are said to rival Dagwood Bumstead.

Besides, there is no perfect political candidate, is there? Every office seeker has a wart or two, except in Gingrich's case he's lugging around a 100-pound goiter of personal coo-coo-ca-choo that could stop his presidential plans before the first snowflake descends on New Hampshire.

It has now been abundantly reported that for all of Gingrich's moralizing about family values and marital fidelity, the speaker has led of life of dangerous liaisons that makes Bill Clinton seem almost … shy.

Surely, as the campaign heats up, the litany of boudoir canoodling moments committed by Gingrich will threaten to undermine his credibility and certainly his standing as the Ward Cleaver of the Heritage Foundation.

Now it has fallen to you to come up with a strategy to deflect accusations that the prospective presidential candidate is a two-faced, hypocritical, morally compromised poltroon who was engaged in hanky-panky while at the same time accusing Clinton of besmirching the Oval Office every time Monica Lewinsky made a pizza delivery.

Clearly, honesty is not an option. What good could possibly come from having the candidate address his faux sanctimoniousness by simply publicly announcing he had engaged in a moral double standard for political gain? If a candidate did that, there probably wouldn't be much need for political consultants. Why start now? Let's not go there.

Plan B. You suggest to Gingrich that, sure, he was the stump's answer to one wild and crazy guy, but so too were plenty of his political contemporaries. Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who was caught with hookers, now has his own show in CNN. Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, who had painted women on speed dial, was easily re-elected. And former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, hardly a pillar of marital rectitude, even appeared in drag from time to time.

At least Gingrich could argue that none of his paramours were professional tarts and he's never had the slightest interest in wearing a chiffon gown. How's that for demonstrating some discriminating class?

On to Plan C. Suddenly a thunderbolt of genius strikes. If any of those clucking namby-pambys in the media ask about all the tawdry philandering, you suggest to Gingrich a simply brilliant response.

Because the speaker cares so deeply about America, you propose, and since that passion demanded so much of his time to work on behalf of the nation he loves, it turns out on occasion he had no other choice but to sleep with as many women as he could persuade as an act of patriotism.

Put another way, it wasn't so much that Gingrich was being unfaithful to his wives as he was actually hitting on the Lincoln Memorial.

If you think we're going to have some unfortunate Minuteman jokes inserted here, forget about it. That would be too easy.

Still there are, obviously, just a few minor flaws in this approach. Some opponents of the speaker might argue that if Gingrich was compelled to turn into a serial lout because of the stress of running the House, what would happen if he ascended to the most stressful, tension-filled job in the world as president? Sheesh, German Chancellor Angela Merkel might not be safe from Newt asking what her astrological sign is.

What is so amazing about this "Ask not what your Newt can do for you, ask what you can do for your Newt" exercise is that Gingrich clearly pondered the idea of linking his roving libido with the Declaration of Independence, Valley Forge and the Normandy landing, concluding it was a bully idea he could pull off.

Little wonder then Newt Gingrich wants to offer the country the same level of service he gave to his mistresses, all for the sake of the national interest.

A fidelity to America, if not to his wives 03/14/11 [Last modified: Monday, March 14, 2011 7:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours